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L'breast self-examination it is a massage that can be performed by every woman, in complete autonomy, in order to identify and recognize any nodules, and understand whether or not there may be some useful lights to be able to carry out further investigations.
This is obviously not a real clinical examination. Rather, it is a better and more conscious way to be able to check your body by yourself and, in case you notice something abnormal, contact a doctor to be able to carry out a complete mammogram, the only test that can be considered really thorough in order to suggest a timely diagnosis.
How self-examination is done
Now that we have understood that theself-examination it is a useful technique to be able to discover the first signs of something "wrong", we can take a small step forward and try to understand how this technique can be performed.
The first thing to do is to stand in front of a mirror and place your hands on your ribs. So, gradually, you will have to try to understand if there are any changes in the nipple area or on the skin: think of swelling, abnormal redness or nodules, just to name the main indicators of something wrong. Then, you can proceed by raising your arms above your head in order to look for other possible alterations.
After this first phase we can take a further step forward and, with the help of three fingers, palpate the breast, with spiral movements, starting from the armpits and reaching the nipples. In this way it will be possible to effectively control the entire chest and the axillary cavities. Of course, if you notice a lump or some other irregularity, the right thing to do is to immediately book a gynecological examination that can carry out any useful information.
When is self-examination done?
Many women wonder how often it could be useful to do self-examination. Given that it is a very frequent question, we can only take this cue and answer that - even if there is no type of "ideal" frequency - this activity should be practiced at least once a month.
It is also advisable perform self-examination when the breast is soft, or 2-3 days after the end of regular cycles, and that this good habit should be continued throughout life, considering that the risk of breast cancer certainly does not vanish with advancing age.
What is breast self-examination for?
At this point we want to integrate our in-depth analysis on breast self-examination by understanding why it is useful to spend a few minutes each month in its execution. It is in fact a very simple, rapid practice, which however has a great utility and which, as such, should not be underestimated.
Breast self-examination is in fact a very useful way to improve knowledge with one's breasts, evaluating their anatomy, consistency and particularity. It is therefore important that the woman becomes fully aware of the characteristics of her breasts, thus going to evaluate changes of any kind, which may arise over the months, such as swelling, redness, loss.
In these scenarios it is clear that self-examination cannot do more. In short, it is not possible, through self-examination, to arrive at a diagnosis of any type of pathology. It is therefore good to visit the doctor immediately, in order to find out if there is something wrong or not.
In doing so, it is good to remember that self-examination must be faced with the right serenity. In particular, it is good to underline that in most cases any anomalies in your breasts are in reality benign cysts or mastosis, or again adenofibromas which do not necessarily correspond to bad outcomes, but which in most cases only need to be kept under control.
From the above, you should therefore have understood that breast self-examination should not be experienced as a moment of anxiety, a proof of the truth. Instead, it should be interpreted as a preventive gesture that demonstrates the great attention you have towards your health.
In fact, we remember how prevention and early diagnosis represent the fundamental elements to be able to fight breast diseases.
Self-examination and mammography
In carrying out the self-examination it is possible that you may encounter small nodules on your "journey". Attention, however: with the hands it is difficult to identify nodules smaller than 1 centimeter in diameter, while with modern mammograms it is possible to identify nodules even in the initial state, of 2 millimeters in diameter.
This is why, in addition to self-examination, it is necessary to be the protagonist of a routine that includes a mammography visit after 35 years of age.
It should be borne in mind that the periodicity of the visit of this type may not be very close in time (for example, after the age of 50 you can go down to a visit every 2 years), but that it must never be underestimated, because it is the best way to understand your state of health in an area of the body that is particularly prone to risks.